11 July 2014

Communication is a learned skill

Last week, I had an errand that put me in the neighbourhood of Matthijs's route home. It thus made sense to make plans to meet up so we could head home together.

When he left Den Haag, he texted me to let me know which train he was on. I texted back to let him know that I was ready to go.

When his train arrived, I got in at the end and started looking for Matthijs. I couldn't find him in my half of the train, so I figured I'd find him when we got out at the next station. But when I got out of the train, the platform was full, and I still couldn't see him. So I eventually went down into the station proper, assuming that he'd had similar problems finding me amidst all the people and had also gone downstairs. Still no sign of him.

"Where are you?" was the text message we both sent each other. "At the station, waiting for you" was the answer we both gave.

It took me awhile to figure out what the problem was. At the airport, Matthijs had gotten off the train to meet me. He didn't see me (I had entered the train further down), and, since he didn't want to leave me behind, he didn't get back on the train. My phone was on silent so I hadn't noticed that his text had arrived before I even got to the next station. We had both assumed what the other was doing, so it took a short conversation before Matthijs figured out what had happened and hopped on the next train to meet me.

The irony is that this is not the first time we have made plans to meet up and managed to miss each other. Thankfully we both have cell phones, which has definitely been a great help with communication! At the same time, it seems apparent that clear communication is apparently a learned skill: even after several years of being married, it's the kind of skill that one can never practice too often.

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